California Educator

February/March 2020

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Advice for student support groups: Organize Student support services, which is the umbrella term for all specialized services that employ speech-language patholo- gists, counselors, school psychologists and school nurses, have recently been centerpieces of struggles in California and across the country. Unions including OEA have bargained for lower caseloads and more resources for these groups. In order to advocate for the resources that reflect their unique needs, Boyd recom- mends that the groups become more visible in their local associations and their school communities. "By nature, nurses are invisible," Lim says, suggesting that student support groups work to provide a baseline edu- cation about what they do and how they help students. "So many people think a school nurse sits in her office and passes out Band-Aids, but that's such a small part of what we do." B o yd en c o u ra ge s stu d ent supp or t groups to build coalitions and identify issues they can organize around to grow their collective voice and advocate for what matters to them. With negotiations for the next Oakland contract just around the corner, Brown welcomes the contin- ued activism of school nurses to fight for the resources their students need. "Our students need smaller classes sizes, wrap-around services and a nurse at every school," Brown says. "We hadn't addressed nurses in our contract since 2002. That's 17 years of missed oppor- tunities. Our powerful strike and the nurses' organizing have accomplished a lot, but there's so much more we can do for our members, our students and our community. We're all continuing the fight together." Continued from "Never Stop Fighting" on page 42 Placer County: Agreement ratified Associated Teachers of Placer in Placer County recently ratified a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract that includes a 3.5 percent increase to the salary schedule retroactive to July 1, 2019. Starting teachers with a credential now make almost $50,000, and the top salary is now over $100,000 at 23 years. ATP also bargained a compressed certificated salary schedule from 29 to 23 years to reach the top salary step; the addition of career tech- nical education (CTE) teachers to the certificated salary schedule; and a $500 incentive to encourage members to take less personal necessity leave. (This was in response to the district's desire to limit PN leave by restricting access and days.) During negotiations, SETA educators wore black to staff meetings and to a small schools conference. Strathmore: Victory for the big-hearted A F T E R S E V E N M O N T H S of negotiation, Strathmore Elementary Teachers Association in Tulare County bargained a contract with Strath- more Union Elementary School District that raised members' top salary by 7.25 percent and added an extra step to the salary schedule. The resulting raise is 4 percent across the board plus an additional 3.25 percent for those with 25 or more years of experience. The contract also increases the master's degree stipend to $1,500 per year. The SETA bargaining team also successfully negotiated requirements for movement across the salary schedule to accept pre-B.A. teacher creden- tial units earned through blended teacher program studies. "We have big hearts for kids, and now we have big paychecks to reward us for that effort," says SETA President Scott Oppenhuizen. "That is the way it should be." Oppenhuizen praises his negotiating team and staff: "They are always ready to mobilize to creatively solve problems together and create the future of our dreams." With reporting from Gabriella Landeros, Cynthia Menzel and Ed Sibby 45 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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